Subject: Re: San Diego/Escondido Suggestions
Hello Eileen,

>From Escondido you will be close by for a visit to the San Diego Wild Animal Park in San Pasqual Valley. Along the way you'll pass by the Orfila Vineyard where you could stop by for a little wine-tasting. And adjacent to the Wild Animal Park is the San Pasqual Battlefield Historic Monument, the sole California location for hostilities between American and Mexican troops during the Mexican-American War.

For a little more extensive wine tasting you could head north up to Temecula just across the Riverside County line, approximately 30 minute drive, to visit quite a few other wineries including Callaway and Thornton Vineyards. If you prefer a getaway to the cool mountain breezes Palomar Mt.is a short 45 minute drive to the northeast of Escondido. While there you can visit the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory. Along the way you can try your luck at the Indian gaming casino on the Rincon Reservation, one of several large Indian gaming casinos located in San Diego county.

Even more gambling will be available between late July and early September as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has its annual meet "where the turf meets the surf in old Del Mar". If you hit it big head on into Rancho Santa Fe for dinner at Mille Fleurs San Diego's finest French restaurant. Or head to the coast and dine overlooking the waves at Jake's Del Mar. Righ across the road from the track is The Fish Market restaurant with its exceedingly fresh seafood.

For your visits down to San Diego there's always the world famous San Diego Zoo. Stop by and help the baby panda Mei-ching celebrate his first birthday. And the Zoo's added nightime hours, staying open until 10:00 pm on summer nights. The Zoo is located in beautiful Balboa Park which is home to a plethora of museums. If you happen to visit the park on a Sunday be sure and stop by the International Cottages next to Organ Pavilion. Every Sunday a different house/country has a festival showing off its traditional dances, costumes, etc. And there is always abooth set up offering homemade dishes. If you do visit the cottages do stop by the House of the Czech and Slovak Republics and the House of Hungary they always have some pastries available. And don't forget the free Sunday concerts at the Organ Pavilion.

San Diego's newest museum sits in San Diego Bay. It's the aircraft carrier Midway opened to the public just last month. And the other big development downtown is Petco Park the new home of the San Diego Padres. Come on down and watch them beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Before or after the game you can pick from dozens of restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter. Consider Blupoint for seafood, Cafe Sevilla for tapas, or Candelas for upscale Mexican.

Cruising the coast from south to north first stop at Pt. Loma Seafoods for a great take out lunch. Sit on their dockside tables and watch the sportfisherman come in with their albacore, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado. Then head out to Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma for the best view of San Diego's skyline. Then north to Mission Beach where you can ride the Big Dipper roller coaster, a national historic landmark, at Belmont Park. Afterwards regain the use of your legs while strolling along the boardwalk or even better wading in the surf. If it happens to be a full moon you can join the locals in their search for the elusive grunion.

>From Mission Beach continue north to La Jolla. Stop off at the Children's Pool for a visit to Southern California's only beach haulout area for harbor seals and Caalifornia sea lions. Weigh in with your opinion; let the seals stay or move them out for the kids? Dinner in La Jolla can be had at both George's at the Cove or The Marine Room for award winning cuisine and inspiring ocean views. Interested in sea life? A visit to the Stephen Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography will get you up to date on recent research.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention golf. If you play you've found Mecca.

Well, Eileen this ought to keep you busy for a couple of days.

Helpful links:

San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park: http://www.sandiegozoo.org

Balboa Park: http://www.sannet.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/balboa.shtml

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club: http://www.dmtc.com/

San Diego Padres: http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum: http://www.midway.org/

Birch Aquarium: http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/

John in San Diego